The 10 Best Bike Child Seats
This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in May of 2015. You don't have to wait for little ones to be big enough to join in on family cycling adventures, thanks to a front- or rear-mounted bike seat from our selection, all of which feature the right balance of child-friendly comfort and safety. Note that you should always outfit your youngster with a helmet, and be sure to exercise extreme care when you’re mounting or dismounting your bicycle. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
January 06, 2020:
The Thule RideAlong maintains its top spot in today’s update, as it offers a robust combination of ease of use, comfort, and safety features. You’ll appreciate being able to adjust it with just one hand, and you can set it to any of five available reclining positions, which makes for convenient nap times. It features padding that’s both detachable and machine washable, and you can switch up the colors when you feel like it, since the material is also reversible. From the same manufacturer, the Thule Yepp Mini and Thule Yepp Maxi are also viable choices that combine practicality and comfort. They can accommodate up to 33 and 40 pounds, respectively, and both offer flexible, water-repellant rubber foam that’s both comfortable and shock-absorbing.
It’s also hard to go wrong with the Schwinn Deluxe, which is from a 125-year-old manufacturer of bicycles and related accessories. It’s lightweight, yet durable, polypropylene construction is made to last you for many years of use, and it also offers a straightforward, intuitive assembly that requires no tools other than a screwdriver.
No matter which design you prefer, be sure to practice by riding around slowly in your driveway once you have it installed, before you hit a high-traffic trail or any terrain that’s even slightly rocky or hilly. Front-mounted seats tend to raise a bike’s center of gravity, which makes it more difficult to steer and dismount. Rear-mounted models can also make mounting and dismounting difficult. In fact, around one-third of injuries involving kids and bike seats occur when the parent is getting onto or off of the bike. Exercise extreme care whether you’re mounting or dismounting -- and, as we’ve stated, getting plenty of practice on safe, level ground is of utmost importance. In addition, be sure to follow all of the operating guidelines that come with your bike seat, and make sure your child is strapped in and wearing a helmet at all times when he or she is in the seat.
Speaking of safety, check out our list of best bike trailers for a sturdy, low-profile means of towing your child. They also provide your kiddo with room to bring along plenty of toys, snacks, or blankets, which often makes for a more enjoyable ride.
Bobike Exclusive Mini This award-winning seat is designed to transport a younger child safely and comfortably, and provides double-walled construction, adjustable footrests, a small handlebar, and a soft, water-repellant cushion. It’s good for kids aged 9 months up to 3 years, and comes with mounting material for a smaller, wider steering tube. Detailed, illustrated instructions for installation are included. bobike.com
Bobike Exclusive Tour This stylish and fresh Dutch design features unique, contoured straps that are adjustable with just one of your hands, and they’ll keep your baby upright, even when he or she falls asleep. It’s quick and easy to install, which is convenient when you want to swap it between bicycles or to go for a ride without a passenger. It offers an adjustable-height headrest to ensure a comfortable fit, which is especially important on long rides. It’s available in sleek Urban Black, Safari Chic, Cinnamon Brown, Denim Deluxe, and Urban Grey. bobike.com
Fun and Safety
It is all about finding the right seat for your bicycle type and riding style.
A bike child seat is designed to safely attach to a bicycle while you enjoy a fun day outdoors. You can choose from front, rear, or center mounts depending on the type of bike that you have, and your child's size and age. These seats are created with advanced safety features, and many have a five-point harness just like the average safety-tested car seat. You can find a seat that will allow you to ride with any child from just a few months old to four or five years old.
Some are still debating the safety of the bike child seat and whether or not it can truly protect the child in the event of a crash. In fact, in the United States, the ASTM standard only considers rear-mounting seats for certification. While it is legal to sell front-mounted seats in the United States, their safety is in question by the powers that be, and they are not certified by general safety standards. No matter which type of bicycle child seat you choose, you should always put a bike helmet on your child as these are known to be extremely effective in preventing injuries in the unfortunate event of a crash.
Some argue that these seats get in the way of the rider, but many active parents say differently. Once they find a seat that is perfect for them, they are happy to ride with their child so they can maintain their active lifestyle and still spend quality time together. It is all about finding the right seat for your bicycle type and riding style.
What Do I Need to Know Before I Buy?
There are several things you will need to consider before purchasing your first child bike seat. First, make sure that you check your local and state helmet laws concerning child seats. Depending on where you live, you may be able to purchase any child seat that you want, but it may not be legal to use it.
Rear-mounted seats generally have a higher weight limit but can make some riders feel off balance.
Next, consider the type of bike you have and whether or not the seat you are considering purchasing is compatible with your bicycle. Some front and center mounting seats are not compatible with all types of bicycles, so you will need to check the guidelines for both your bicycle and the bike child seat. Once you have established what your guidelines are based on your bike type and local laws, it's time to consider what type of seat you will need based on the size and age of your child.
If you are going to purchase a front-mounting seat, your child has to be at least nine months of age (sometimes twelve months depending on the laws). Some parents feel it is safer to use a front or center mounted seat, especially when their child is small. Rear-mounted seats generally have a higher weight limit but can make some riders feel off balance. They also make it more difficult to keep an eye on your child while riding.
Finally, consider your child's comfort. It's best if the seat you choose has some sort of cushioning and shock absorption. Depending on the age of your child, you may want a seat that has full head and neck support in case your child falls asleep while you are riding.
History of the Bicycle
The first verifiable bicycle was invented in Germany in 1817, but the term "bicycle" was not used until the invention made it's way to France in the 1860's. While it cannot be confirmed, some say that the earliest bicycle dates back as far as 1493 to a sketch by a student of Leonardo da Vinci. It is unclear whether or not this rough sketch was turned into a real life machine, and there is even some debate as to the authenticity of the sketch itself.
Over the years, this design has been further perfected for greater efficiency and maneuverability.
In 1818, Karl von Drais patented his design of a velocipede, a two-wheeled machine that could be steered and was powered by running along the ground. The seat was a simple wooden plank. Bicycles quickly evolved through the 1800's as the craze swept Europe. In 1870, England produced the "penny-farthing." It was a bicycle with a huge front wheel and a small rear wheel that was powered by pedaling. Unfortunately, it didn't provide a very comfortable ride.
Between the 1880's and 1890's, the bicycle evolved into the familiar design we know today with pedals connected to a chain that allowed for greater control and comfort. Over the years, this design has been further perfected for greater efficiency and maneuverability. The bike seat (also known as the bike saddle) has been around nearly as long as the bicycle itself, but the child bike seat came about much later. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact date they were first invented, but it is clear from pictures that they were being used on a regular basis as early as the 1960's.
Current bicycles come in many shapes, sizes, and types and are compatible with various types of child seats. They are now made for greater power and shock absorption for a comfortable ride and produce the ability to reach high speeds, even with a child seat attached.